12APOS­TLES

Via The Great Ocean Road route.

Woman's Era - - Con­tents -

ith the trea­sured sight­ings of the wad­dling fairy pen­guins at the Phillip Is­land fresh in our minds we set off on an­other mem­o­rable guided tour on the world-fa­mous Great Ocean Road from Mel­bourne to the 12 Apos­tles sit­u­ated near the Port Campbell Na­tional Park.

We started the 12 Apos­tles tour around 8 am and as soon as tourists from all over the world were com­fort­ably seated in the bus our friendly driver and guide took to the wheel and we were soon pass­ing through South­bank and over the West­gate Bridge leav­ing Mel­bourne city, Port Phillip Bay and pass­ing through Gee­long to­wards the coast.

While we were just about tak­ing in what the driver was say­ing about our tour and the his­tory of the Great Ocean Road, we reached Torquay – Aus­tralia’s surf­ing cap­i­tal with branded surf-wear and the world­fa­mous Bells Beach about 22 kms south of Gee­long. Our ex­cite­ment grew when we learnt that Torquay is fa­mous for be­ing the of­fi­cial start of the Great Ocean Road.

Our chatty guide told us that the Great Ocean Road was built as a war memo­rial be­tween 1919 and 1932 by war vet­er­ans in mem­ory of those who never re­turned from World War 1. It is the largest war memo­rial that stretches 243 kms from Torquay to Al­lans­ford near War­rnam­bool on the south-eastern coast of Aus­tralia.

We halted at Torquay and the world-fa­mous surfers’ Bells Beach

to take pho­to­graphs of the scenic splen­dour around us – the fas­ci­nat­ing surf beach with pock­ets of dense veg­e­ta­tion with steep cliffs all around. The Bells Beach is fa­mous for the Rip Curl pro-surf­ing com­pe­ti­tion held here ev­ery year.

Our first big stop was at An­gelsea, a pop­u­lar sea­side town about 10 min­utes from Bells Beach where we stopped for Bush-billy tea, sand­wiches veg­emite with crack­ers and Lam­ing­ton cakes! We had sev­eral sight­ings of the Aus­tralian Eastern grey kan­ga­roos and their joeys as they hopped on the fair­ways of the lo­cal golf course.

Af­ter the re­fresh­ing tea break we drove through Aireys In­let, a coastal town that boasts the 1891-built Split Point Light­house stand­ing tall at 34 me­tres, tow­er­ing over its beau­ti­ful coast­line and the Ea­gle Rock Ma­rine

We con­tin­ued our drive from Aireys In­let and shortly we reached the Eastern View of the Memo­rial Arch – a prom­i­nent land­mark. Memo­rial Arch has his­tory writ­ten all over it and we tried to imag­ine the time when this great man­ual feat must have started – with only the axe, shovel and wheel bar­row! The bronze Dig­gers sculp­ture here says it all!

Hav­ing had our fill of pho­to­graphs at this his­tor­i­cal land­mark we con­tin­ued on our jour­ney soak­ing in the breath­tak­ing views of the turquoise blue-green ocean, its waves topped with snowy-white surf lap­ping the cliffs in full force, of the spent waves rolling back on the sandy beaches lined by rain­forests, of pretty houses perched on the hill­tops, small coastal towns and the white clouds sail­ing above them. The drive through these pic­turesque sea­side towns like Lorne and the Ersk­ine Falls is to see na­ture at its pret­ti­est!

Adding to this serene and peace­ful can­vas at the Ken­net River Park were the most colour­ful of all – the Aus­tralian feath­ered friends! The park is full of sul­phur-crested cock­a­toos and a num­ber of dif­fer­ent species of rosel­las in beau­ti­ful shades of red, blue, green, yel­low – and the King Par­rots! The

THE GREAT OCEAN ROAD WAS BUILT AS A WAR MEMO­RIAL BE­TWEEN 1919 AND 1932 BY WAR VET­ER­ANS IN MEM­ORY OF THOSE WHO NEVER RE­TURNED FROM WORLD WAR 1. IT IS THE LARGEST WAR MEMO­RIAL THAT STRETCHES 243 KMS FROM TORQUAY TO AL­LANS­FORD NEAR WAR­RNAM­BOOL ON THE SOUTH-EASTERN COAST OF AUS­TRALIA. PROMI­NENCE

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